February 9, 2014

Milkweed Does A Body Good

Good morning and greetings, precipitation fans. Well, some rain fell on our drought ravaged central coast last week, but forecasters and soothsayers claim that it was not nearly enough to make up for what so far has been one of the driest rainy seasons on record. What the weather boys and girls are basically saying is that we would have to double the amount of rainfall over the next four months to get back to the normal.

Now that could happen, just like the Democrats and Republicans back in Washington getting together to agree on tax cuts, jobs growth, health care, federal spending and gun rights. I’ll just put away my umbrella for now. As I’ve often remarked, I love walking in the rain because then no one knows I’m crying.

Or as my daughter Aimee says, “I like to cry at the ocean because only there do my tears look small.”

On to another unfortunate subject. In a story written by Mark Stevenson for the Associated Press, there is trouble in the world of the danaus plexippus, which for you non-scientists, are monarch butterflies.

Back in late January, experts and four out of five lepidopterists (butterfly specialists) who recommend milkweed for their patients, say that the incredible and little-understood annual migration of millions of Monarch butterflies spending the winter in Mexico is in danger of disappearing. This was after their numbers dropped to their lowest level since record-keeping began in 1993, as reported by researchers from the Sinaloa Drug Cartel.

The big problem is the loss of the milkweed plant that the monarchs feed on for survival. The finger of blame is being pointed at the genetically modified crops and urban sprawl in the United States and extreme weather trends, along with the dramatic reduction of the butterflies’ habitat in Mexico due to illegal logging of the trees they depend on for shelter and orange flight.

After steep and steady declines in the previous three years, the orange-and-black butterflies now cover only 1.65 acres in the pine and fir forests west of Mexico City, compared to 2.93 acres last year. They covered more than 44.5 acres at their recorded peak in 1996. That was also the year that Lisa Marie Presley filed for divorce from Michael Jackson, though I don’t think there is any connection.

Because the monarchs clump together by the thousands in trees, they pay very little in rent and utilities, and are counted by the area they cover.

While the Monarch is not in danger of extinction, the decline in their population is not a happy thought for butterfly or pinata lovers. For you statistics nuts, it has morphed into a long-term trend and can no longer be seen as just a year-by-year or seasonal event, like the swallows returning to San Juan Capistrano or the running of the Bulls in Chicago.

The announcement came on the heels of the 20th anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement, or what we in the business call NAFTA, which saw the United States, Mexico and Canada sign environmental accords to protect migratory species such as the Monarch. And according to my sources at the U.S. Customs, the Border Patrol and Baja Fresh, that is the last thing these three countries were in agreement on.

Lincoln Brower, a leading entomologist at Sweet Briar College in Virginia and one of my favorite experts on bugs says, “The main culprit is now genetically modified herbicide-resistant corn and soybean crops and herbicides in the USA, which leads to the wholesale killing of the monarch’s principal food plant, common milkweed.”

This is particularly true in the midwest, where most of the butterflies migrate from. Extreme weather, including severe cold snaps, unusually heavy rains and droughts in all three countries have also played a role in the decline. Hey, but if Sarah Palin says there’s no proof of global warming, that’s good enough for me.

As we know, the migration of monarch butterflies to our California coast has been in steep decline, so we should step up and start planting our own weed, er milkweed, to help out the cause.

In Mexico, their annual trek is the world’s biggest migration of Monarch butterflies and the third-largest insect migration in the world, after a species of dragonfly in Africa and mosquitos coming in through my screen door in the summertime. The migration is a source of pride and heritage to the people of this region and should not be lost or stolen.

Writer and environmentalist Homero Aridjis says, “The governments of the United States and Canada have washed their hands of the problem, and left it all to Mexico. I think President Obama should take some step to support the survival of the Monarch butterflies.”

President Obama is scheduled to visit Mexico on February 19, with events scheduled for Toluca, a city a few dozen miles from the Monarch’s reserve. Then he’ll knock back a couple of chimichangas, down a Corona and try not to see any decapitated heads along the roadside before heading back on Air Force One.

So I say this. There are plenty of monarchs throughout the world, so there is no danger of extinction. But as our Commander in Chief, if you were man enough to call the shots so that Osama Bin Laden to now sleeping with the fishes, you could probably figure out of way to make life easier for our little fluttering friends. Or as Michelle whispered to you in the White House garden, “If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies.”

So on that note, today I’m featuring some monarch butterfly shots from some classic westside locations. We’re talking Natural Bridges State Park, the Alan Chadwick Gardens at UCSC and the parking lot outside Subway. As they say, “Think fresh, eat fresh. The way a sandwich should be.”

Or in the words of Conan O’Brien, “Subway has announced a major new campaign to get people to eat healthier. I’m no health expert, but maybe the first thing to do is not sell people piles of meat and bread by the foot.”

On to some late night. “The Seahawks had a great slogan: “Why not us?” That’s what they would say to each other before the game. That is much better than the Broncos’ slogan: “Hey, why not hike it over the quarterback’s head?” People were partying in Seattle on Sunday night after the game. They were singing, they were laughing, they were hugging complete strangers, dancing in the streets. Basically, the same thing they’ve done every night in Seattle since they legalized marijuana.” – Jay Leno

“It wasn’t much of a Super Bowl game. The Seahawks beat the Broncos 43-8. You know how after the game the winning players go to Disney World? Some of the Seahawks went halfway through the third quarter. It cost $4 million for a 30-second ad during the Super Bowl. I’m always surprised at which companies elect to pay that. How did a pistachio company afford $4 million? What kind of mark-up are they getting on those nuts?” – Jimmy Kimmel

“After appearing in a commercial during last night’s Super Bowl, people are accusing Bob Dylan of selling out. Today Dylan responded by saying, “Everyone needs to calm down, have a Bud Light, and relax at a Sandals Resort.” – Conan O’Brien “The NFL announced that veteran referee Terry McAulay will lead the referee crew at Sunday’s Super Bowl. So if you had him in your referee pool . . . please contact Gambler’s Anonymous. You have a problem.” – Jimmy Fallon

“Hillary Clinton is encouraging Hispanic families to read to their kids. She’s also telling Asian families to ease up on the math so the rest of us can catch up.” – Conan O’Brien “CVS is no longer selling cigarettes. They say, “It’s the right thing to do for our customers and our company in their path for better health.” I go to CVS all the time. If they want to promote better health, maybe they should stop selling Cheese Whiz, Circus Peanuts, Little Debbie jelly rolls and all the ingredients for meth.”- Jimmy Kimmel

So that’s the show. We’ll catch you blazing away like an all-star point guard and keeping your team in the playoff hunt in the western conference. Aloha, mahalo and later, Goran Dragic fans.

September 15, 2013

The Bay Of The Jackal

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , , , , , — geoff @ 10:41 am

Good morning and greetings, late summer fans. You know, life is full of surprises and prizes, and I don’t just mean the kind you find in a box of Cracker Jacks. If you keep your eyes open and your wings spread, you never know what you’ll encounter in the the journeys that lie ahead.

So with that thought, let’s go back to last Tuesday, when a light rain and my radio career were falling when I awoke. Since the coast looked drearier than the news I had received the day before, I decided to try and clear my head by walking around my neighborhood. It’s not nearly as exciting as skipping along the edge of the continent, but it does get my heart pumping and that’s just what my psychiatrist ordered.

So with my Steely Dan poncho on my back and my trusty golden companion leading the way, we set off into the mist. What immediately came to mind was a couple of classic Woody Allen lines, “Life is divided into the horrible and the miserable,” and ‘Life is full of misery, loneliness and suffering-and it’s all over much too soon.” Okay, so I was a little down.

But what happened next caught me completely by surprise, as standing not 30 feet away was a large coyote, who was licking his lips like wanted to order something off the menu. Now I’ve partied with a few of these jackals on the westside, and my greatest coyote moment was when I photographed one in the rain outside of Natural Bridges State Park. The amazing thing was that when I first saw him, I was without my camera, so I raced home and luckily when I returned, he was still there, talking to an insurance salesman.

So there he stood, his tan pelt dusted with moisture, eyeing my two legs like a couple of medallions of cocker spaniel. I waited at the edge of the arroyo, hoping for a roadrunner to zoom by so as to distract him from sizing me up like a Yom Kippur appetizer. And after a few minutes, this wily creature trotted down the street and disappeared back into the Animal Planet. I stood there and quietly took my place back at the top of the animal kingdom.

Now early one morning two weeks ago, I watched the movie “Life of Pi,” the story of a boy who is shipwrecked and ends up stranded on a lifeboat in the Pacific Ocean with a Bengal tiger and Cincinnati Bengal’s cheerleader. The film was a visual masterpiece, and the 3D images of fish, waves and clouds were extraordinary. With these images seared in my mind like some ahi tuna, I headed down to West Cliff, and was immediately taken in by the flocks of the birds flying over the water.

In my mind I was back in movie mode, but this was the real thing, and it was fantastic. I then equated the relationship between the boy and the tiger onto my oceanside journey with my golden retriever. While there was not a life and death issue at stake, she can be as dangerous as the big cats if you don’t pet her enough.

Right then a large chain of pelicans came upon us. Now flocks of pelicans flying by are no big deal, but this group seemed to have no end. I immediately started to count, and I gave up when I hit 160. The gathering was at least 200 strong, and I just stood there and watched in amazement as these prehistoric-looking birds kept changing formations and exchanging tweets as they headed north up the coast.

This image marinated in my mind all week, and then last Wednesday, I was back again on West Cliff in search of answers to the question, “Why do bad things happen to people with good hair?” But before I could take a look within, wave after wave of pelicans flew by in formations on their way south. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds. There was something incredible happening to the south in Monterey Bay, and it wasn’t the combo seafood sliders at Phil’s Fish Market in Moss Landing.

I later learned these fish-loving sea birds were joining an epic number of humpback whales, who were feasting on the massive anchovy blooms in the bay. In an article written by Nadia Drake for wired.com, marine biologist Nancy Black says there were “tons and tons” of anchovies in the area, more than have been seen in years. She spotted one school estimated to be 200 feet deep and more than a mile long by the way Sheryl Crow flies. Black estimated that there were 250 whales in the bay, the most she’s seen in her 26 years in the area, which has provided folks with the best whale watching since the humpbacks left Notre Dame.

And best of all, sports fans, this wild scene with the humpbacks blowing giant underwater bubbles to herd the fish into a bait ball and then go to town was happening right in the giant submarine canyon located in our front yard. It’s nature gone wild on Monterey Bay. I chalk it up to another prize awarded along the journey, but one that requires some dramamine for those of us who aren’t so crazy about the motion of the ocean, if you catch my continental drift.

So for today’s floral display we are heading back to our 50th and most tropical state. My brother Brad joined us on our recent adventure to the Garden Isle, and the home he stayed in had grounds that looked like botanical gardens. The variety of exotic plants were simply amazing, with one flower more vibrant and exotic than the next. But being a simple man, its the basic garden variety plumeria (photo #8) that does it for me. The fragrance of these flowers drives my olfactory system aloha wild. It is the true scent of the islands. Well, either that or Old Spice.

On to the late night humor. “Fox opposes a Syria peace plan because its modus operandi is to foment dissent in the form of a relentless and irrational contrarianism to Barack Obama and all things Democratic, to advance its ultimate objective of creating a deliberately misinformed body politic whose fear, anger, mistrust, and discontent is the manna upon which it sustains its parasitic succubus-like existence.” –Jon Stewart

“You can tell that fall is coming. The leaves are changing faster than the White House position on Syria. “A new survey found Americans clicked on Miley Cyrus stories 12 times more often than stories about Syria and President Assad. Well, that makes sense. Wouldn’t you rather watch a twerk than a jerk?” –Jay Leno “John Kerry has given Syria one week to hand over its chemical weapons. And if they don’t . . . he’ll give them another week.” –Jay Leno

“Secretary of State John Kerry said that Arab countries have offered to pay the entire cost of unseating Syria’s president if we take the lead militarily. They will pay for the whole thing. See, this is how global politics works. We invade Syria to get money from Saudi Arabia that they got from us for putting their oil in our Japanese cars so we can pay back China all the money we owe them.” –Jay Leno

“The United States is going to make a deal with Russia and Syria. What could possibly go wrong? Here’s the deal: Syria will turn over their stockpiled chemicals and we send them Alex Rodriguez. Syria is now saying they will agree to give up their chemical weapons if Miley Cyrus agrees to give up whatever it is she is doing. McDonald’s is now serving steak. Nothing says fine dining like rolling down your car window and screaming out, “medium rare!” – David Letterman

“Today was the primary for mayor of New York City. The city had to use old, lever voting machines from the 1960s because the electronic machines were too hard to program. Of course, it was awkward when Anthony Weiner said, ‘That’s not a lever.’” –Jimmy Fallon “If Christine Quinn wins the New York City mayoral race, she’ll be the city’s first lesbian mayor. Which is why her campaign slogan is, ‘Christine Quinn: as far away from Weiner as you can get.’” –Conan O’Brien

So the final post of summer 2013 is in the books. For all of you Rosh Hashanah fans, I hope the upcoming year will be a sweet one. For New York Giant football fans, you have my severe sympathy.

We’ll catch you doing more than signing autographs and wowing a national audience by throwing for a career-best 464 yards in the loss to number one ranked Alabama. Aloha, mahlao and later, Johnny Manziel fans.

July 21, 2013

Welcome Back, Hotter

Good morning and greetings, midsummer fans. Growing up in the Garden State of New Jersey, we always looked forward to some brutal stretches of summer weather, when the days were blisteringly hot and the nights swelteringly warm. And when these uncomfortable conditions hit, we resorted to what the early cavemen and pioneers that settled across this great land of ours did, fleeing into the air conditioning and not exiting this cool space until the coast was more than clear. Without this game-saving process of altering the temperature and humidity in the air, we never would have survived. It was either that or spend a week in the refrigerator.

The reason I harken back to these extreme weather conditions is because last week, the northeast corridor was virtually a giant sauna, with no wind and no rain to go along hot, sticky air. And then added to this mess was Yankee captain Derek Jeter being placed back on the disabled list because of too many beautiful ex-girlfriends.

A heat wave is officially defined as three days or more of temperatures of 90 degrees or more, or what the locals call winter in the Sahara Desert. Early in the week, heat advisories for temperatures over 100 degrees of Kevin Bacon were issued for Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington and West Maui. Last Monday, Burlington, Vermont hit 93 degrees. Even the maple syrup was sweating. It hadn’t been that hot on that date since 1955. Last Thursday, a record was set at JFK Airport in New York when the temperature hit an all-time high for the day at the century mark. Cabbies were perspiring like IRS executives appearing before Congress.

The National Weather Service likes to warn people when it gets hot enough bake lasagna on the sidewalk. They warned people of the dangers of heat-related illnesses, like fatigue, sunstroke, muscle cramps, heat exhaustion and being forced to stay inside and watch the idiotic reality shows the networks include in their summer programming.

Thankfully, a cold front finally blew in late Saturday, which shoved the hot, humid air mass southward so those Confederate states could get a taste of this July magic. This cold front also triggered severe thunderstorms, of which I have fond memories of. All of a sudden, the sky would suddenly darken, and the warm rain would start pelting down while the thunder blasted away. I always liked being outside when the heat wave snapped as the air turned cooler than, in the words of ESPN’s Stuart Scott, “the other side of my pillow.”

Elsewhere around the nation last Monday, while the east coast was frying like my parmesan crusted chicken, Texas and Oklahoma recorded their all-time lowest temperatures for July 15. And to make it even macadamia nuttier, parts of Alaska’s eastern interior were warmer than the Great Plains of Texas. The surprisingly cooler temperatures in Lone Star state were due to clouds, rain and Houston’s signing of much-sought-after center Dwight Howard. So Superman now becomes Rocket Man. Can’t wait to see what Elton John has to say about that.

The southwest felt the extreme heat in June, as the temperature at Death Valley National Park tied the record for the hottest June day at 128 degrees. How hot was it? Squirrels were handling their nuts with potholders. Lance Armstrong tested positive for Snapple. In Palm Springs, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg was spotted drinking a Big Gulp.

And speaking of Palm Springs, a raging wildfire was burning six miles outside the home of Sherman’s Deli, where hot corned beef piled high on rye bread is king. There were 17 major wildfires burning 17 western states last week, making this a dangerous time for fire fighters and homeowners in these regions. Or in the words of author Robert Fulghum, “If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire, then you got a problem. Everything else is an inconvenience.”

When it comes to scorching summers, not to be confused with the lovely Suzanne Somers, the hottest occurred during the Dust Bowl of 1936, when the average temperature was over 73 degrees. And believe it or not, popsicle fans, the past two summers have come Glenn Close to breaking that mark, as the summers of 2011 and 2012 tied for the second-hottest with an average temperature only one-tenth of a degree off the record. Only 20 times in the past 150 summers has the east coast felt a heat wave like this, or about as often as I leave my feet on the basketball court when bringing down a rebound.

So while the scorching heat was baking the east coast, folks in Santa Cruz woke up on Monday to heavy fog, followed by a light rain falling the next day. I thought to myself, folks are sweating back east like Eddie Snowden waiting in line at the Cinnabon at the Moscow Airport, while I’m standing in the rain in 50 degree temps here on the central coast. What a country. And speaking of Eddie, heard a great line on Letterman when he asked Bill Maher about the Snowden affair. “All I know is I’m glad I’m not the guy circling the airport waiting to pick him up.”

So for today’s photo launch, while the precipitation was falling on Tuesday, I took out my camera and recorded some of the effects on the plants and flowers in my front yard. The rain really brings out a spark in nature, as the plants are overjoyed to be receiving showers of love from the sky. The last two shots are from the Arboretum at UCSC, the place I journey to when moisture fills my heart and windshield.

Rain is a joyous event for so many living things and often leaves me in tears. “The Little Tramp,” Charlie Chaplan put it this way,” I always like walking in the rain so no one can tell I’m crying.” Between sobs I couldn’t have said it better myself. Or as singer Johnny Nash once crooned, “I can see clearly now the rain is gone.” At this stage in life, it’s nice to see all the obstacles that are in my way.

On to some late night humor. “Al-Qaida’s No. 2 man in Yemen was killed this week by a drone strike. He was doing a cover shoot for Rolling Stone and they were able to pinpoint him. Joe Biden said this week that he still dreams of being president. To which Hillary said, “Keep dreaming.” A key prosecution witness in the racketeering and murder trial of Boston crime boss Whitey Bulger was found dead this week. Who could have seen that coming? What, a witness in a mob trial dead? Turned out the guy suffered an allergic reaction to a baseball bat. Taxi companies in St. Louis are considering an additional charge for passengers who throw up in the car. If you vomit in the cab, it is going to cost you more. I have a better idea. How about a discount for the next guy who gets in the cab?” – Jay Leno

“Rush Limbaugh claims he is now allowed to say the N-word. After hearing this, Paula Deen said, ‘Let me know how that works out for you.’ It’s been revealed that the iPhone will not autocorrect the word “marijuana.” Yeah, that explains why the other night Snoop Dogg was delivered a package of marinara. McDonald’s plans to open its first restaurant in Vietnam. So it looks like we might win that war after all.” – Conan O’Brien

Here’s some big news out of England. Today, Queen Elizabeth officially legalized gay marriage in Britain. Or as she put it, ‘You know, it doesn’t always have to be tea and crumpets. Sometimes it can just be two crumpets.’” –Jimmy Fallon “The royal baby is due today. Kate Middleton and Prince William are expecting the baby any minute now. The royals say they don’t care what gender it is as long as it’s healthy enough to never work a day in its life.” –Conan O’Brien

NSA leaker Edward Snowden has filed for asylum in Russia, but Vladimir Putin is against it. You know, if Snowden really wants to stay in Russia he should just speak out against Putin. He’ll get to stay in Russia the rest of his life.” –Jay Leno “Edward Snowden, the NSA leaker, wants asylum in Venezuela. He also wants to be able to have summer asylum in the Hamptons. It’s crazy hot outside. I’ll give you an example. Remember Joey Chestnut, the competitive eating champion who recently ate 106 hot dogs in a minute? It was so hot today that he ate 68 Dove bars.” David Letterman

“Jay-Z says that he and President Obama text each other regularly. In one text, Jay-Z was like, ‘What’s it like being the most powerful person in the world?’ And Obama was like, ‘I dunno. Ask Beyonce.’ “Pope Francis is on summer vacation right now and apparently he’s been spotted driving around in a Ford Focus. So I guess he takes that vow of celibacy very seriously.” –Jimmy Fallon “People in Florida are pretty worried about the Zimmerman acquittal. They’re trying so hard to get black people to stay in their homes, it looks like election day down there.” –Bill Maher

So that’s our July weather update. We’ll catch you trying to save rare turtles and golden-shelled plowshare tortoise from extinction in places like Madagascar and beyond. Aloha, mahalo and later, Eric Goode fans.

April 7, 2013

Close Your Eyes And Fake A Wish

Good morning and greetings, national pastime fans. Yes, the baseball season is underway, but from the way the Yankees played last week, I probably won’t start paying attention until after the World Series. I know the regular season is 162 games and that championships aren’t won or lost in April, but let’s face it, this New York team is older than the combined age of Derek Jeter’s last two girlfriends. Throw in the steroid sidelined Alex Rodriquez, who hasn’t bunted for a hit since he dated Madonna, and the Yankees hopes for contending this season might be shorter than A-Rod’s relationship with Cameron Diaz.

That being said, Hope Solo still springs eternal, as the flowers are blooming and the pollen count is higher than our military alert because of North Korean leader Kim Jong Incredibly Young, who has threatened to attack the U.S. with diversified nuclear missiles and marinated short ribs. I don’t want to say this 28-year-old stud puppet is a maniac, but he’s running his mouth and worrying more people than top donors threatening to withhold all money from any Democrat who doesn’t support President Obama’s background checks on guns n roses.

This up-and-coming dictator may be one crazy son-of-a-bitch, but enough of the talk of war. Kim JU, why don’t you stop the tough talk and go back to what you do best, watching basketball, collecting Nike sneakers and starving your people in slave labor camps.

Moving along, April 7 was a big day in the Gilbert household, and not because I spent the afternoon schmoozing with NBA legend Jerry West. It was a double birthday occasion, as my son Jason and brother Brad celebrated the day they took that once-in-a lifetime trip through the birth canal and then popped out of the womb and into a world full of rainbows, gumdrops and NFL football. Jason was supposed to have exited my wife on April 6, but after her water broke we decided to take in dinner and a movie, so his jumping out point came just after midnight, which forever bonded with my youngest brother, along with Russell Crowe, Francis Ford Coppola and Kong Sun Chan, better known to his close friends as Jackie. Those first 60 minutes of new life were truly a rush hour.

So that got me to thinking, how did all this cake, candles and wishing we were either younger or older come into play? Well, thanks to the folks at tokenz.com, let’s take a look at some fun facts about the birthday experience.

More than 9% of all people celebrate their birthday in August, more than in any other month in the year. This has always been a bummer for August born kids, as later on, they get gyped in the birthday gift department when friends are away on summer vacations. Just ask any young Leo.

The world’s biggest birthday cake was created in 1989 for the 100th birthday for the city of Fort Payne, Alabama. The cake weighed in at 128,238 pounds and used 16,209 pounds of icing. If you visit Fort Payne, stop by City Hall and grab a piece as this mother of all sugar substances is still active.

Sir Paul McCartney’s birth certificate was auctioned off in March 1997 for $84,146. It is believed to be the world’s most expensive birth certificate. On a similar vein, on my daughter’s last birthday, her wish was to receive the world’s most expensive gift certificate to Forever 21.

In 1996, the Sultan of Brunei hosted the world’s most expensive birthday party to celebrate his 50th birthday, at a whopping cost of $27.2 million. $16 million went to Michael Jackson, who gave three concerts, while each guest left with a party bag filled with stickers, a yo-yo and $500,000 in cash.

A recent survey suggests that more people are born on October 5 in the U.S. than on any other day. This means that conception would take place on New Year’s Eve. Thus we smile and wish others, “Happy New Year.”

The origination of the birthday cake was started by John Stamos and the early Greeks, who used to take round cakes to the temple of Artemis, the Goddess of Moon. The custom of lighting candles was started by Plato because it made the cake glow like a moon. His buddy Socrates believed that the gods lived in the sky and that by lighting candles it helped to send a signal and a prayer. Today that’s called texting. People still make silent wishes before they blow out the candles, and after sixty years I am still waiting for one of them to come slightly true.

The song ‘Happy Birthday,’ is recognized as one of the most popular in the English language, along with ‘Auld Lang Syne,’ ‘For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow’ and ‘Stairway to Heaven.’ It is was written and composed back in 1893 by two sisters, Mildred J. Hill and Dr. Patty Smith Hill, a teacher and principal at a school in Louisville, Kentucky. However, the sisters vehemently denied writing the lyrics, “You belong in a zoo. You look like a monkey…”

The most famous rendition of this song was sung by Marilyn Monroe, when she serenaded JFK with, “Happy Birthday, Mr. President,” a sultry rendition that made more than Congress rise and cheer. She would be found dead three months later. She passed away far too young. In her words, “I’m not interested in money. I just want to be wonderful.” Unfortunately, much like my first modeling agent, she was as troubled as she was beautiful.

Let’s finish with a joke. Every morning a man passes a house on his street and sees a woman in her front yard beating her husband over the head with a French bread. This goes on for months until one morning he passes the house and sees the woman beating her husband with a large eclair. Later that day he meets the woman in the street. “Aren’t you the woman who beats her husband with a French bread?” asks the man. “Only today, I could have sworn you were hitting him with a big cake.” Oh, I was,” replied the woman. “Today is his birthday.”

On to the photos. Weather forecasters predicted that last Thursday’s rain would be the finale for the wet season. So that morning, I threw on my Brittney Griner poncho and headed up to the Arboretum at UCSC. A light mist was falling when I arrived, creating ideal conditions. The Arboretum, which has the largest collection of Australian and New Zealand plants outside of their native countries, was deserted expect for rabbits, quail and madly buzzing hummingbirds. The flowers were loaded down with moisture from the steady overnight rain, and the resulting photos were just dewlicious. As author Ruth Stout once said, “I love spring everywhere, but if I could choose, I would always greet it in a garden,” as I did in my youth, in the Garden State of New Jersey.

On to a little late night. “Yesterday President Obama shot baskets at the White House and made only two shots out of 22. Even Dick Cheney was like, ‘That guy needs to learn how to shoot.’ “President Obama went only two for 22. It’s tough times for Obama – one minute, he’s asking Congress to raise the debt ceiling; the next, he’s asking them to lower the hoop.” –Jimmy Fallon

“North Korea is now threatening the United States with all-out war. You can see they’re stepping it up. In fact, they released 10 more photos of Kim Jong Un looking through binoculars. Tensions continue to mount in this North Korea situation. The U.S. has moved a Navy warship off the coast of the Korean Peninsula. Is that going to scare the North Koreans? If you really want to scare them, don’t send a warship. Send a Carnival cruise ship.” – Jay Leno

“The federal government says it will do one more study on the risk of cellphone radiation. Or as the guy with the third ear growing out of his neck said, “That’s cool. Take your time.” Last week Justin Bieber had to leave his pet monkey with customs officials in Germany after he entered the country without the right paperwork. Officials told him, “You have to leave your little friend behind. And the monkey said, “Sorry, Justin, I guess you’ve got to stay.” – Jimmy Fallon “Model Heidi Klum was in Hawaii and saved her 7-year-old son from drowning. The rip tide pulled him out, and Heidi jumped in the water and saved him. I was surprised the kid isn’t a better swimmer. He’s half seal, isn’t he?” – Jay Leno

So birthday wishes go to my son, who turned 19 and now admits he enjoys giving tours to prospective students and their families at UC Santa Barbara almost as much as taking it to me one-on-one, and to my brother Brad, who just came back from a heli snowboarding trip to Alaska. If you haven’t been on top of a glacier recently, you can check out his blog at

http://www.glutenfreesnowboarder.com/2013/04/the-rain-in-haines-falls-mainly-on-the-plains-in-the-mountains-its-all-snow/

And one more birthday thought goes out today to my webmaster/math teacher of the year friend Kevin Deutsch, who will admit in private that the chow fun here is better than it was in Laguna Beach.

We’ll catch you scoring 40 plus points in three straight games while showing NBA fans why the New York Knicks will be a dangerous team come playoff time. Aloha, mahalo and later, Carmelo Anthony fans.

July 22, 2012

Well, It’s A Drought Time

Good morning and greetings, decathalon fans. According to John Calipari and my WikiLeak sources in the U.K., London has spent billions in preparation for the 2012 Summer Olympics. We’re talking about the construction of state of the art stadiums, installation of ultra tight security and drug tests for the Rolling Stones. But there is one thing besides Keith Richards that the organizers of this summer extravaganza can’t control, and that is the wacky British weather.

Julie Andrews once said that this is a country where you can have four seasons in an afternoon. Much like myself, many Londoners never leave the house without an umbrella and sunglasses. During the recent Wimbledon Tennis tournament, England was hit by violent rainstorms with enough precipitation to flood Abbey Road and a yellow submarine. In the words of John Lennon, “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey.”

Reports from Michael Caine and the UK’s national weather forecaster said this past June was the wettest since they began keeping records in 1910. We’re talking double the average rainfall. July has brought more rain, flash floods and the British invasion. The Olympic organizers would like conditions to be as dry an sunny as possible for the athletes, but that’s about as likely as the Beatles reuniting on Ed Sullivan. I think good day, sunshine just went out the bathroom window.

So the forecast for the games, which run from July 27 to August 12, is for below average sunshine and temperatures. Let’s call it cloudy, with a chance of chaos. Myself, I prefer cloudy with a chance of paradise.

But we would kill for that rain over here, as according to the Huffington Post, not to be confused with the New York Post or my son Jason’s post-up game, we’re in the midst of the worst drought in decades. Conditions are getting worse by the day and might not improve until after Halloween. Only the droughts in the 1930s and the 1950s covered more land, and farmers in the epicenter in the midwest are taking a beating. We’re not talking in terms of a Dust Bowl-type catastrophe yet, but every day more corn is wilting in the fields. It’s been a brutal summertime, and the livin’ hasn’t been easy because although the fish may be jumpin’, the cotton is definitely not high.

Bloomberg.com reports that because of the drought, over a 1,000 counties in 29 states are being named natural-disaster areas, the biggest such declaration ever by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The declaration makes farmers and ranchers eligible for low-interest loans to help them weather the drought, wildfires and other disasters, like another season of “Keeping Up With The Kardashians.” It’s been helter skelter here and back in the U.S.S.R.

Climatologists and medicine men, not to be confused with Don Draper and ‘Mad Men,” have labeled this year’s dry spell a “flash drought,” because it developed in a matter of months, not over multiple seasons or years. Despite this very difficult time, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says that “Agriculture remains a bright spot in our nation’s economy, along with a Starbucks on every corner in America.”

Corn has been hit the hardest, as this year’s crop of 96 million acres was the largest ever planted. Optimism has been replaced severe pessimism, as the fields are burning and no signficant rain or movement by Congress is in the forecast. Farmers will have to survive with a little help from their friends.

Corn is perhaps the second most important thing on the planet next to water and beer, as it is used for feed for livestock and poultry and in the making of things like crayons, car tires, corn dogs, shampoo, makeup and unmanned drones.

The drought continues to be an ongoing disaster, much like when Roseanne Barr tried singing the national anthem. Last Tuesday she was asked by David Letterman Tuesday night about macadamia nuts. “They are so good for you. They’ve got a lot of the right fats that keep your brain working the correct way, so you don’t vote Republican and stuff like that.”

So while we’re on the subject, have you ever wondered where’s the driest place on earth? Well, I’m glad you asked, as according to nationalgeographic.com, the Atacama Desert is the winner. This lovely stretch of land covers 600 miles from Peru’s southern border into northern Chile. At its chocolately, creme-filled center, a place climatologists call absolute desert, the Atacama is known as the driest place on Earth.

This is a place where rain has never been recorded. In this extremely dry, stretch of teenage wasteland, you won’t see a leaf, cactus flower, snake or television agent, much like Palm Springs was before being discovered by Dinah Shore.

Interestingly enough, the United States, Canada, Europe, East Asia and Chile have partnered together, at a cost of more than a billion dollars, to construct the Atacama Large Millimeter/sub-millimeter Array. It’s a group of radio telescopes in the Atacama desert in northern Chile where astronomers go to have their minds blown. From this high desert outpost, ALMA is expected to provide insight on star birth during the early universe, detail imaging of local stars and planet formation and keep an eye on the comings and goings of Venezuela’s top nut, Hugo Chavez.

So sticking with our desert theme, today’s photo lounge features colorful shots from my favorite oasis, Palm Desert. These sunrise and sunset shots were taken during many of my strenuous hikes around the Palm Valley Country Club, where things can get pretty treacherous, especially around the putting greens and 15th fairway.

I love the feel of the warm desert breezes, the spectacular colors in the sky and the ice scuptures at the all-you-can-eat Sunday brunches up at the clubhouse. And let’s not forget the corned beef at Sherman’s Deli and Bakery, with two convenient locations In Palm Springs and Palm Desert.

On to the late night. “I was just the guy with the smoke screenish, yet still legal title of CEO and Managing Director who was paid at least $100,000 a year to do what, according to me, Mitt Romney, was nothing. That’s the kind of common sense business experience I hope to bring to the White House. Nobody cares that Mitt Romney is rich. It’s Romney’s inability to understand the institutional advantage that he gains from the government’s tax code largesse, that’s a little offensive to people, especially considering Romney’s view on anyone else who looks to the government for things like, I don’t know, food and medicine.” –Jon Stewart

“On Friday Oprah Winfrey interviewed Mitt Romney. They talked about politics, foreign policy, and what it’s like to lose a million dollars in the couch cushions.” –Conan O’Brien “A new poll found that 54 percent of Florida voters think the country is on the wrong track under President Obama. While the rest of Florida’s voters still think Teddy Roosevelt is president.” –Jimmy Fallon

“Sarah Palin is saying she still hasn’t been invited to the Republican National Convention next month. The RNC says it’s all a misunderstanding — as in, Palin misunderstands the meaning of the phrase, ‘You’re not invited.’” –Jimmy Fallon “The big news in Washington now is the disappearance of Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. Nobody can find him. He’s completely disappeared.People think he’s either in rehab or he might have been given his own show on CNN.

“I guess you heard about this; the U.S. Olympic Committee is coming under fire after it was revealed that the uniforms for Team USA to be worn in the opening ceremony were made in China. Turns out they were made by some of the same kids who could beat us in gymnastics. We have American athletes in uniforms made in China, wearing French berets. I don’t know if we’re supposed to compete, ask for a loan or surrender.” –Jay Leno

On a more somber note, let’s hope that someday in our lifetime, lunatics won’t be able to buy an assault rifles and mow down innocent people, destroying lives and families forever. How many tragedies is it going to take?

We’ll catch you being the most exciting thing in Pittsburgh since a young Ben Roethlisberger came on to the scene. Aloha, mahalo and later, Andrew McCuthchen fans.

February 19, 2012

If You Can’t Arboretum, Join ‘Em.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — geoff @ 7:17 pm

Good morning and greetings, precipitation fans. Well, we finally got a little moisture here on the central coast, as a quick storm blew in last Monday and dropped about half inch of rain. I know that rainy days and Mondays always got Karen Carpenter down. When I asked Gregg Allman about it, he replied, “They call in stormy Monday, but Tuesday’s just as bad.” Unfortunately, I don’t agree with Gregg on this one, but then again, I’ve never been married to Cher.

By mid-February, Santa Cruz has usually received around 20 inches of rain. This year’s total is about 10 inches, which doesn’t have the ski resorts owners in Tahoe turning cartwheels. It’s been an extremely dry year and with no significant rain in the forecast, we’re stuck enjoying clear days and summer-like conditions. When I further queried Gregg Allman on the situation, he replied, “You’re my blue sky, you’re my sunny day. Lord knows it makes me high when you turn your love my way.” Hey, Gregg, let’s not get so personal. I was only asking about the weather.
So on that note, what do we really know about rain? And who doesn’t love it when it blows in and breaks up the sunny monotony? Well, on the moist note, here are some fun facts about our friend we know as liquid precipitation.

Rain starts off as ice, snow or Billy crystals at cloud level. Freezing rain is rain that freezes when it hits the ground; sleet is frozen ice pellets and purple rain never meant to cause you any sorrow. B.J Thomas claims that rain drops can travel down to earth at speeds of about 22 miles an hour, and 25 MPH in a school zone.

For those watching their weight, there’s light rain, which is classified at dropping no more than .10 inches an hour, while heavy rain falls at more than .30 an hour. When I asked the lovely Carly Simon about her thoughts on this subject, she claimed, “I haven’t got time for the rain.” Rain drops do not fall in the shape of a teardrop, they but fall in the shape of a flat oval. But as we know, “Too many tear drops for one heart to carry on means you’re going to cry ninety-six tears, you’re going to cry ninety-six years.”

Rain is recycled water that has evaporated from lakes, rivers, hot tubs, oceans, ponds, jacuzzis, streams, bayous and the orca tank at Sea World. Acid rain was first discovered by scientists at the Woodstock Music Festival. And believe it or not, the Statue of Liberty is turning green due to acid rain, as it is made out of copper and the acid dissolves the copper and discolors it. Which brings to mind an old Woody Allen quote, “My love life is terrible. The last time I was inside a woman was when I visited the Statue of Liberty.”

Now let’s play rain geography. Louisiana, which has Mardi Gras coming up this week, is the wettest state in the U.S, receiving an annual rainfall of 56 inches. Mount Waialeale, smack in the middle of the Garden Isle of Kauai, Hawaii, has approximately 350 rainy days every year, which has the ferns singing like the Pointer Sisters. The world’s heaviest average rain fall (about 430 inches) occurs in Cherrapunji, India, where as much as 87 feet of rain has fallen in one year. Yet the locals go about their lives singing, “Gray skies are going to clear up, put on a happy face.”

And finally, under the category of “I did not know that,” the umbrella was originally intended not to protect mankind from falling droplets, but to shade people from the hot sun. The word umbrella comes from the Latin word umbra, meaning keep your cranium dry. But who doesn’t love it when those rain drops keep fallin’ on our heads? I believe when it comes to precipitation, my feelings are summed up by Gene Kelly, who’s laughing at the clouds because the sun’s in his heart. “I’m singing in the rain, just singing in the rain. What a wonderful feeling, I’m happy again.”

So when it’s raining, I like to grab my camera and head up to the Arboretum at UC Santa Cruz, which is conveniently located just minutes from my westside abode. It has acres and acres of exotic plants and flowers, serves as a research and teaching facility as well as a cool hangout for hummingbirds and their friends. We’re talking wild and rare plants from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, California and New Jersey that are difficult to find in your local yellow pages.

When I’m looking for photographic conditions for shooting plants, the wetter the better. The first three shots are from my most recent expidition while the second three are from any earlier journey to this oasis of exotic color and wonder. I love visiting there after a storm, which conjurs up the words of Woody Allen from the classic ‘Play It Again, Sam.’ “I love the rain – it washes memories off the sidewalk of life.”

On to the late night. Rick Santorum is hoping his three wins in the Republican primaries on Tuesday will postiion him as the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney. And I think that’s reflected in his new campaign slogan: the other white meat.” –Seth Meyers “Rick Santorum said women might not be suited for military action because their emotions aren’t suited forcombat. Which can mean only one thing: He’s never seen an episode of ‘The View.’” –Jimmy Fallon “Have you noticed Romney doesn’t even blow dry his hair anymore? He dries naturally from Rick Santorum breathing down his neck.” –Jay Leno

“It was a bad night for Newt Gingrich. In terms that Newt can understand, I think the voters told him they want to start seeing other candidates.” –Jay Leno “Newt Gingrich is trying to save his campaign by focusing only on areas where he has the most support. So he’s mostly focusing on Georgia, Tennessee, and the Cheesecake Factory.” –Conan O’Brien

“Mitt Romney said today that he learned something. There are things that money can’t buy — like Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri. “Romney’s campaign is in such bad shape, today he moved the part in his hair even further to the right.” –Jay Leno “Mitt Romney is trying hard to connect with voters. He seems like he’s too affluent. Romney was talking about his father’s humble beginnings as a carpenter. He said, ‘I’ll never forget the day my dad started building our fourth beach house.’” –Conan O’Brien

Birthday wishes on Wednesday go out to George Washington, Dr. J, Julius Erving and my brother Paul. Back in the late 70′s, Paul left the warm, cozy confines of our oceanfront home on West Cliff Drive to pursue his destiny in New York. I stayed behind and watched whales, pelicans and roller skaters cruise by along the cliff and prepare for this blog. He went on to become a CNN producer and sports anchor in Atlanta and the NBA ‘s Entertainment’s Director of Video Promotions while I counted clouds and watched the sun dip into the Pacific.

Now we are both raising teenagers, still marveling at the New York Giant’s playoff run and beyond amazed at the meteoric rise of Palo Alto’s Jeremy Lin. To coin the phrase my brother brought into the league’s venacular, “NBA action is fantastic.” So is it having a brother like him. And as Bob Hope says, “I grew up with six brothers. That’s how I learned to dance – waiting for the bathroom.

So that’s our Rainn Wilson report. Our final word on precipitation belongs to that smooth lefthander Jimi Hendrix, who said, “Rainy day, dream away, let the sun take a holiday.” And speaking of which, I was in a celebration mode on Saturday, when at age 59 years and 49 days, I had my best day on the basketball court since my wife bore us children. Hitting the three, spinning in the lane, throwing no-look passes, I was in the zone and on fire. And yes, there were witnesses.

This day was a blessing for me and my catch and shoot game. So maybe my future isn’t so far behind me. We’ll catch you exploding to the hoop. Aloha, mahalo and later, Russell Westbrook fans.

May 2, 2010

You’re So Rain, I Bet You Think This Blog Is About You

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — geoff @ 8:49 pm

Good morning and greetings, offshore drilling fans. It’s not a pretty scene off the coast of Lousiana, as millions of gallons of bubbling crude, black gold, Texas tea are spilling out into the ocean water off the coast of Louisiana. In the words of Bill Maher, “the Gulf of Mexico is now the Gulf of Texaco.”

It would be nice if we could send those Goldman Sachs boys down there to clean up the mess, but they only seem to be interested in profiting from other people’s misfortune while denying any wrongdoing. Watching Senator Carl Levin and his gang grill those executives was truly stunning political theatre. I haven’t seen that kind of anger from our elected officials since they upped the prices of smoothies at the Senate Snack Shack. As Olivia Newton John once told me about Wall Street, “greed is the word.”

As many of you know from my CB handle, I like to think of myself as “Mr. Positive.” When I look at my sippy cup, it is always half full. With this in mind, the other day my wife sent me an email describing the 89,000 ways sugar is bad for you. This was followed by a report on NBC News on the evils of added sugar and its relation to heart disease. A few days later came another NBC report on our over intake of salt. My first thought was, I’ve got to stop watching so much news. But then it hit me like a Muhammad Ali left hook-when did everything besides TV become bad for us?

Now, I don’t mean there aren’t still good things in life, like the smell of a rose, the laughter of a child or TiVo, but I’m referring to our more basic needs. Without going into any depressing details about our air, food, water or Chinese food, it seems as though the basic things we ingest all contain materials that are not good for us. Even the sun is harmful. My question is, what happened? In the words of the group Ambrosia, “how long has this been going on? Why is McDonald’s not a happy meal?

So as of late, I’ve been watching my added sugar intake like my golden retriever watches the Judge Judy. They say women can handle 100 grams a day and men 150 grams. The report said a can of soda had 170 grams of sugar with no nutritional value. In that case Mountain Dew, I say, Mountain Don’t. They also said one scoop of vanilla ice cream contained 92 grams of added sugar. Since that day, I’ve stuck with chocolate. And you know, dark chocolate is good for you. Yeah, the Easter Bunny told me that.

The bottom line is, I LOVE SUGAR. I love sweet and sour sauce or when someone says I’ll keep it short and sweet. Chocolate, cookies, chocolate, anything sweet works for me. But one of my daughter’s vocabulary words last week was moderation and that’s my new key. I’m going to have my blood tested today to check my cholesterol levels and then I’m seeing my doctor next week. So it could be goodbye, my old friend sugar, it was nice knowing you. But do me a favor, please leave me your forwarding address.

On to this week’s photo regalia. Last Tuesday brought us one last day of April showers. Since I didn’t have anything in mind for this week’s lineup, I laced up my hiking boots and headed into my front yard to shoot some flowers in the rain. And then to make it into a cardio workout, I walked around the block to complete the neighborhood watch package. You can see that a little precipitation performs wonders on the photographic front. Or as Lili Von Shtupp would say about photo #4, “a wed wose. How womantic.”

Let’s head to the late night action. “Last week, President Obama gave a speech in New York City about his plan to reform these rules on Wall Street. And one embarrassing moment. When the head of Goldman Sachs was going through security, he was asked to empty his pockets and five Republican senators fell out. During the economic meltdown, employees at the SEC were using government computers to watch pornography. Ironically, while they were watching porn, the other employees were watching Goldman Sachs screw the entire country. One good thing came out of this volcano in Iceland. Economists say consumers can expect a huge drop in the price of lava lamps.” –Jay Leno

“Former President George W. Bush is working on his memoirs. The title is ‘Decision Points.” It narrowly edged out his original title, which was ‘My Bad.’ Crown Publishing has given a November release date for what they’re saying is an incredibly honest account of key decision in the President’s life. There’s a whole chapter dedicated to smooth vs. crunchy.” –Jimmy Kimmel “Former President Bush is writing his autobiography about his eight years in the White House. He’s not done with it yet, but he’s already put up the mission accomplished banner.” –David Letterman ”

David Letterman’s Top Ten Thoughts That Went Through George W. Bush’s Mind As He Wrote His Memoirs
9. ‘Is 36 pages enough?’ 6. ‘How cool is it that I was president? Come on, up high!’ 4. ‘Chapter Eight: The day I went 5-for-5 in White House T-ball. And no gimmies. All ropes!’ “1,000 signed, cloth-bound copies will be sold for $350 each. Each one will say: ‘Thanks for reading about my decisions. Sincerely, Dick Cheney.’” –Jimmy Fallon

“You know what happened today down in Washington, D.C.? The world champion New York Yankees visited the White House. It was a beautiful day. President Obama charged them $25 for a hot dog and a warm beer. It was quite a change for the New York Yankees, going from ‘The House That Ruth Built’ to ‘The House That Bush Wrecked.’ Here’s a nice story. President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, took the weekend off. They went hiking in North Carolina. Had a great time. And so he wouldn’t get lost, Obama left behind a trail of cigarette butts.” –David Letterman

“Arizona’s Governor had been stalling on signing the immigration bill. She said it did not reflect any ambivalence. She just wanted to make sure her pool was clean and her lawn was mowed before she signed.” –Bill Maher “The movie ‘Avatar’ is out on DVD today. James Cameron wanted it to be released on Earth Day because nothing says ‘save the planet’ like millions of plastic DVD cases.” –Craig Ferguson “President Obama is now considering giving approval for the development of a hyper-supersonic missile that can reach anywhere in the world in an hour. It’s a joint venture between the U.S. military and Domino’s Pizza.” –Jay Leno

So that’s the first blast of fun and color for the new month. For NBA playoff watchers, April was fairly fantastic. Let’s just say I’m not unexcited about May. And let’s hope that they can put a cap of that oil well or this newest spill will make the Exxon Valdex incident look like a plate of Baked Alaska. We’ll catch you along the baseline. Aloha, mahalo and later, Deron Williams fans.

February 8, 2009

Dew Looks Like A Lady

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — geoff @ 9:56 pm

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Good morning and greetings, tax-paying fans. Well, we finally got some much-needed moisture here on the central coast as a storm system from the Eastern Pacific blew in on Thursday which was ollowed by a second system from the Gulf of Alaska on Friday, bringing smiles to the faces of children, farmers and umbrellas salesmen.

Which brings to mind the question, what to do on a rainy day besides go to work? Some people like to stay curl up inside and read a good book, others like to hit the movie theatres and then they’re people like my friend Dan who went for a hike in Nisene Marks State Park to “see what all this long overdue moisture was doing for the local fungus community.” He sent me some beautiful photos-I haven’t seen mushrooms that colorful since they rested on a bed of extra wide egg noodles from my most recent culinary entanglement with beef stronganoff.

So as the rain fell I thought, let’s head outdoors and check out the wonders of moisture. But where to go to feel those raindrops keep falling on my head-West Cliff to see the surging sea, Four Mile to check out the bird life or to the University to see the majestic redwoods? Ultimately, I opted for the sidewalk less traveled and just walked around the block to check out the local scenery so as not leave a carbon footprint, just a size 11.

The morning rain always does wonders for the close-up shots. There were so many flowers and brilliant colors to choose from in Mr. Rogers neighborhood as the plants seemed as happy as Pittsburgh Steeler fans to be taking in the precipitation. I encourage all of you to go for a walk in the rain or to paraphrase Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground, “Take a walk on the wet side.”

On to our political humor segment. Not a whole lot really caught my eye this week but here are a few that brought a smile to my face and a hug to my heart. “This week, on CNN, they have been showing a blueprint of the White House to help viewers visualize the layout of the West Wing. Yeah, when he saw it, former President Bush said, ‘So that’s where the bathroom was.’” -Conan O’Brien. In an interview with Al-Arabiya, an Arab-language news channel, President Obama said that he wanted to persuade Muslims that the Americans were not your enemy. In an early sign of improvement, the crowd of protestors outside began chanting, ‘Injury to America.’ So that’s better.” -Seth Meyers of Saturday Night Live. And “right after Sunday’s Super Bowl, President Barack Obama placed a congratulatory phone call to the Steelers from his BlackBerry. Meanwhile, John McCain called the Cardinals from his ham radio.” -David Letterman.

And here’s a few more from the late night boys. “This weekend, the Republican National Committee elected their first-ever African-American chairman. His name is Michael Steele, or as he’s known in the Republican Party, ‘the black guy.’” -Conan O’Brien. “Tuesday was Groundhog Day, and I don’t know why this stuff always goes haywire in Alaska. Here is what happened. A little bit of trouble. Groundhog comes out of its hole. Sarah Palin shoots it.” -David Letterman.

Now, moving on to the Governor du jour. “Oh, boy, the Illinois senators were mad, they voted to impeach 59-0. Not only was he Blagojevich convicted, his hairdresser was given the death penalty.” -Jay Leno. And for our last note on politics, “You know it’s interesting, when Bill Clinton needed stimulus for his package, he just called an intern.” -David Letterman.

Finally, I’d like to take a moment to send birthday wishes to my favorite mother. On Sunday, she celebrated her 83rd birthday and it harkened me back to the moment we first met. All of a sudden, the warm, soothing hot tub I was relaxing in disappeared and I bravely began my journey down the birth canal. Like a salmon heading upstream to spawn I breached the Manhatten air, looked up and thought, “Are both those for me?” Before I could say “Help, Dr. Spock” a nurse shoved a bottle in my mouth, and I was left in state of shock and disappointment, or the same feelings I experienced when I saw my SAT scores. Anyway, I let go of those lingering emotions months ago and now I can look at my mother and say, “Ah, maybe next time.” That’s what being an adult and being responsible for your emotions is all about.

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s show. If I’ve learned anything on my brief time here on this planet, it’s just to take life one day at a time. That’s really all we can do. Well, that and always carry a litter bag in your car. Because in the words of Steve Martin, “If it fills up, you can always throw it out the window.”

So now that the NFL football season is finally over we can now focus on something more important than someone carrying a pigskin across a goal line-NBA basketball. Kobe Bryant and the Lakers are on a mission which will be interesting to watch come playoff time. One more note. Besides my mother’s birthday, the highlight of the weekend was seeing my son pull off a 360 spin move in the air and finish with a layup. Fortunately my brother Brad was there to see it experience the moment with me. You know what they say, Coast Athletic League Basketball, “Where Amazing Things Happen.” We’ll catch in the low post. Aloha and later, David Lee and David Lee Roth fans.

September 14, 2008

It’s A Hit Or Swiss Proposition

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — geoff @ 9:02 pm

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Good morning and welcome to the final week of summer 2008. Last week I once again gently awoke to the sound of rain. This time however, after hearing the droplets falling from the sky, I wondered not about the spider webs but instead what the moisture would look like on the flowers in my yard. As you can see from today’s photo lineup, when one adds water to the floral mix it gives the subject and predicate a rather classic wet look.

You veterans readers of this blog know that I like to report on late breaking stories of the day. Important issues like global warming, the senseless war in Iraq and the absurdity of John McCain calling Barack Obama an “elitist” when he himself owns 9 homes in 3 times zones and travels by private jet. Well, here’s an international news story that I believe search warrants my attention.

Strict new laws went into affect across Switzerland on September 1 that have some bankers, watchmakers and chocolate salesmen wondering if legislators have overreacted in efforts to safeguard the animal kingdom. The new legislation spells out in exhaustive detail how all animals are to be treated, whether they be pets, farm animals, domestic partners or destined for scientific experiments. Wild animals are also covered by the law if they reside in zoos, circuses or are related to Siegfried or Roy.

Remember the old royal flush? Well, now our little gold friends are now afforded a much more dignified death as it is now illegal to flush live goldfish, brook trout or poached salmon down the toilet. The law stipulates that they must first be knocked out, breaded, lightly sauteed and killed before being disposed of. Fishermen may no longer use live bait, practice catch-and-release fishing or enjoy their catch without tartar sauce.

On the domestic front, common household pets such as hamsters, parrots and piranhas can no longer be kept by themselves. The same applies for more exotic breeds such as lamas, alpacas and yaks (who are always talking.) Even sheep, goats and wolverines must have at least “a visual contact with their fellows,” according to the new law, if text messaging is not available.

Man’s “best friend,” comes in for special treatment as dog owners will be obliged by law to take special classes on how to raise Fido properly so he is less likely bite, scratch or hump your leg like it’s Tuesday. And Swiss dog-owners wishing to “customize” their pets as a fashion accessory will not be allowed to crop their tails or ears, force them to have surgery to get droopy ears or make them watch any of Eddie Murphy’s “Dr. Doolittle” movies.

But one cannot help but wonder (or in the words of Robert Plant, “And it makes me wonder”) if the animals would really welcome all the provisions Swiss lawmakers have generously bestowed upon them. Pigs, for example, are often said to be happiest when rolling around in the mud — but now they have the legal right to a shower to freshen up. They also want pigs to have the rights to attend day spas and receive facials and massages just like any other European politician. The country’s leading animal rights group, STS, say the new laws doesn’t go far enough and want animals to have free speech, the right to vote and most importantly, bear arms.

That’s the news from the European desk. On the weather front Hurricane Ike has wreaked havoc on the Galveston and Houston area of Texas and done a complete number on the island of Haiti. People are really suffering. So enjoy the flowers, be glad you have power and are not walking around in mud and we’ll catch you on the far sideline. Aloha, New York Giants fans.


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